Hiking in the Tatra Mountains (High Tatras) Slovakia with kids

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains (High Tatras) Slovakia with kids

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Whilst the High Tatras are a popular mountain range for winter sports, hiking in the Tatra Mountains in summer is equally, if not more rewarding. Think “The Sound of Music” – stunning alpine mountain views, turquoise lakes and impressive waterfalls.

This was our first real (kind of) hiking holiday with the kids and it was so much easier and more family-friendly than we expected.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly why you should go hiking in the Tatra Mountains, Slovakia with kids. We explain how to get there, where to stay and what to do.

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Why go hiking in the Tatra Mountains, Slovakia with kids

Think of the Alps but on a smaller scale…

We’ve all seen those stunning, iconic mountain scenes of the Swiss and Austrian Alps. I’ve sat longingly staring at them many times, wishing I could go there. Well, the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia (also known as the High Tatras and locally as Vysoké Tatry) has the same breath-taking, alpine views.

Whilst the Tatra Mountains are a mere fraction of the size of the Alps, its 785 square kilometres certainly doesn’t feel small. They form a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, although over 70% lies within Slovakia.

The highest point is Gerlachovský štít at 2655 m. This summit should only be reached alongside a professional mountain guide.

There are plenty of hiking routes of varying difficulty level, as well as lots of other fun activities to do. Both you and your kids will fall in love with this picturesque and adventurous outdoor playground.

Cheaper and less crowded…

Often overlooked and less popular than the Alps, visiting and hiking in the High Tatras is much cheaper. And whilst the resort town of Zakopane on the Polish side can get quite busy, the resorts on the Slovak side are not overcrowded at all.

Suitable for all ages and hiking abilities…

In summer, the biggest activity that attracts people to the Tatra Mountains is hiking. The Tatra Mountains offers challenging hikes that can only be done with guides such as Gerlachovský štít.

BUT WAIT… don’t stop reading this because you have kids that can’t walk (or can’t walk far), or maybe you’re just not into long mountain hikes. You can still explore these beautiful mountains by shorter walks and using the cable cars and funiculars.

There are tons of different hiking routes in the Tatra Mountains from gentle walks to strenuous hikes and even those suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

When to go hiking in the Tatra Mountains

The hiking trails in the High Tatras are closed from November 1st until June 15th for safety, nature and environment reasons.

The lady who owned the guest house that we stayed in told us that you can never predict the weather in the Tatra Mountains!

We visited in August and although we had an epic thunderstorm one night and a couple of short, sharp downbursts, we were generally lucky with the weather. Most days were clear skies, bright sunshine and comfortable temperatures of around low to mid 20’s.

August is also supposed to be the busiest time in the High Tatras but it wasn’t overcrowded at all.


How to get to the Tatra Mountains

The Tatra Mountains are located in the north of Slovakia and form a natural border with Poland. 

By car...

The quickest and most flexible way of getting to the Tatra Mountains is by car. Approximate driving times and distances to the High Tatras from the following popular destinations are below:

To check out car hire prices, click on the banner below.

By train...

A quick, easy and relaxing way to get to the Tatra Mountains (and our preferred way) is by train. 

The closest train station is Poprad and direct trains come from Košice (approx. 1 ¼ hours) and Bratislava (approx. 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours). We travelled to the Tatra Mountains from Bratislava as part of an amazing 2 week Eastern Europe trip.

⭐️ Find out more…

To learn more about Bratislava, read our guide on How to spend one day in Bratislava with kids

To find out exactly how to buy train tickets and how much they cost, read our guide on Getting the train from Bratislava to Poprad.

Our kids on the train on our 2 week Eastern Europe itinerary

From Poprad train station you can take the Tatra Electric Railway to a number of mountain village resorts in the Tatra Mountains. To find out more read our guide on Getting the Tatra Electric Railway from Poprad to the High Tatras.

By plane...

The closest airport is Poprad-Tatry Airport, approximately 25 km away from the popular mountain resort villages in the Tatra Mountains.

As always, we use Skyscanner to book our flights and find it not only generates the best prices, but also tells you the cheapest time to travel.

Click on the banner below to search for flights…

⭐️ Find out more…

Click here to read our step by step guide to using Skyscanner to help book the cheapest flights – even during school holidays.

By bus...

Direct buses travel to Poprad directly from Košice and Bratislava but the trains are much more frequent and comfortable in our opinion. To check bus/train times and prices, use Rome2Rio.

Tatra Mountains accommodation

There is plenty of accommodation to suit all in the Tatra Mountains, but really your first choice is one of two options…

The city of Poprad

Known as the “entrance gate to the High Tatras”, Poprad is a busy city at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and offers good value in terms of accommodation.

However, despite the Tatra Mountains setting the backdrop behind the city of Poprad, staying here doesn’t really tick the box if you are looking to stay in the heart of the High Tatras.

If you really want the mountain feel and a good base for hiking, then staying closer to the Tatra Mountains is much better.

We wanted a hiking style holiday in the Tatra Mountains with mountain resort accommodation and you won’t get this from staying in Poprad.


The Tatra Mountain village resorts

There are a number of mountain village resorts to choose from but we would recommend either…

There are more and more modern, luxury types of accommodation popping up in the Tatra Mountain village resorts but many are typical mountains style chalets.

Here are our top picks in the 3 locations we have recommended…

Accommodation in Tatranská Lomnica

Accommodation in Štrbské Pleso

Accommodation in Starý Smokovec


Our accommodation - Penzion Reitmayer

I spent a long time researching accommodation in the Tatra Mountains. To the point that every hotel and guest house that we passed, I remembered looking them up on the internet!

We stayed in a lovely guest house called Penzion Reitmayer, located in Nový Smokovec (just 1 km away from Starý Smokovec).

Penzion Reitmayer was perfect for us. It’s perfectly located close to the Tatra Electric Railway, reasonably priced and offers a fantastic breakfast. The contact from the lovely owner beforehand and during our stay was so helpful and genuine.

We had a large family apartment with a spacious living area and kitchen, bathroom and 2 bedrooms. We also had a little balcony and velux windows offering beautiful views of the Tatra Mountains.

Our 5 night stay at Penzion Reitmayer for the 4 of us including breakfast cost £410.


How to get around the Tatra Mountains

The High Tatras has a fantastic electric train network that can transport you around quickly, comfortably and economically. This is a fun and easy way to get around the most popular destinations in the Tatra Mountains and the kids love it.

Tatra Electric Railway

Tickets must be purchased before boarding the trains from ticket counters at larger stations or from self-service ticket machines. The self-service ticket machines are easy to use and instructions are available in English.

Pick up a Tez Tatra Electric Train booklet and use the map inside to help you calculate the cost of your journey based on distance from one destination to another.

For example, the fare for 7-19km (which would take you from Poprad to Starý Smokovec, Nový Smokovec and Tatranská Lomnica) is €1,50 for adults and €0,75 for children aged 6-16.

Tatra Electric Railway Map

Once you board the train, make sure you validate your ticket by inserting it into the date-stamping machine, facing upwards as indicated by the arrows.

❗️ Top Tip

Ask at your accommodation if they offer the Tatry Card. It costs just €3 and gives you unlimited fares on the Tatry Electric Railway for up to 4 days.

For more information on how to use the Tatra Electric Train, click here.

Now that we’ve covered why you should visit the Tatra Mountains, how to get there, where to stay and how to get around, let’s take a look at what to do in the top mountain resorts.

We’ll cover popular routes for hiking in the Tatra Mountains as well as other recommended activities.

Activities and hiking in Štrbské Pleso – Tatra Mountains

Possibly considered as one of the prettiest villages in the Tatra Mountains due to its picture-perfect glacial lake – Štrbské pleso. This magical lake is frozen for over for 155 days of the year on average and has previously hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships.

In summer, however, you can take to the water in wooden rowing boats and enjoy the magnificent views and fresh alpine air. 

We hopped on the electric train and spent the day here.

Take a leisurely stroll around Štrbské pleso (lake)

Just taking in this impressive lake is a must and what better way to do it than by walking the 2.5 km path around the whole lake.

It’s a nice flat route, suitable for young kids and strollers/pushchairs.

Make sure you take full advantage of the incredible photo opportunities.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains -Strbske pleso

Take a chairlift ride to Mt. Predné Solisko

You can hike or take a 7-minute chairlift ride up to Solisko at 1840 m. From the upper chairlift station, continue to hike upwards for approximately 45 minutes to reach the peak of Mt. Predné Solisko at 2093 m.

With the chairlift lopping off the first 1840 m, reaching the summit of Mt. Predné Solisko is considered one of the easiest and most accessible peaks in the Tatra Mountains.

Hike to Skok Waterfall

This is a fairly easy hike with a gentle ascent along a stony path, approximately 10 k there and back.

We set off after a tasty lunch at Koliba Pleso restaurant (the garlic and sheep’s cheese soup is amazing).

The paths are lined with blueberry bushes and the girls kept stopping to fill their bellies. Florence (just 3 years old) alternated between walking and piggyback rides. It took us about 2 hours to reach Skok Waterfall but it could be done quicker.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - Skok waterfall

This hike is not suitable for buggies/strollers so if you have young children, we’d recommend a baby carrier.

Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll really feel like the 4.5-5k hike is worth it. The water thunders down an impressive 25 m drop and if you’re feeling adventurous you can climb up close and cool off in the spray.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains -paddling at Skok waterfall

Hike to Popradské pleso

Another stunning glacial lake with breath-taking views of the surrounding Tatra Mountains.

Hiking to Popradské pleso is fairly easy, takes about 1.5 hours and is 4 – 4.5 km, depending on the route you take. You can take the red route along a stony path from Štrbské pleso, or the blue route from Popradské pleso tram stop along an asphalt road suitable for strollers, buggies and bikes. 

Activities and hiking in Starý Smokovec – Tatra Mountains

Starý Smokovec is a good central location in the High Tatras, so makes a perfect place for hiking and other activities.

Ride the funicular to Hrebienok

From Starý Smokovec, you can ride the modern ground funicular 1285 m up to Hrebienok. Strollers and buggies can be taken up in the funicular and the kids will love the ride.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - funicular to Hrebienok

Hrebienok is a popular tourist destination and starting point for many hiking routes in the Tatra Mountains. If you don’t fancy walking any further, you can spend some time at Hrebienok and take the funicular back down.

There are fun activities for kids such tubing, which involves hurtling around a 100 metre-long toboggan in a rubber tyre. This is suitable for kids of all ages providing they can hold on although our 3 year old didn’t fancy it. You can also treat yourselves to lunch at Restaurant Hrebienok which serves traditional Slovak food.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains -tubing at Hrebienok

You can also hike up the asphalt road to Hrebienok, which is completely suitable for strollers and buggies. This will take around 45-60 minutes but will save you the cost of the funicular (approx. £30 for a family of 4 – not cheap).

Hike from Hrebienok to Studený potok waterfalls

From Hrebienok, where the funicular drops you off, you can take a short walk downhill to Cold Creek Waterfalls (locally known as Studený potok). It took us about 30 minutes to reach the waterfalls, although we stopped quite a few times to take photos. 

Take time to climb the rocks and enjoy the crystal clear water flowing over the large rocks. From here, you can either turn back and take the funicular or walk back down to Stary Smokovec. Or you can do what we did and follow the waterfall all the way down to the bottom.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - Cold Creek Waterfalls

This is a beautiful scenic route which took us about 4 hours with stops. There are plenty of pools on the way down to stop and paddle in. There’s something so clean, natural and fresh about the pure white stones and crystal clear water flowing down.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - hiking down from Cold Creek waterfalls

Visit Tricklandia Trickart Gallery

After a couple of days of hiking, we decided to give our legs a rest and visit Tricklandia. Described as a trickart gallery, you will feel like you’ve entered a world of fantasy, magic and fairy tales where you can let your imagination run wild.

When you enter, you will be given guidance on what to do, which includes the option to download the app onto your smartphone to really make your photos come to life. 

As you make your way around the different rooms and backdrops, there is guidance on how to stand in order to get the best photos. Staff are also available to help position and take family photos for you.

Solvakia with kids - Trciklandia

The anti-gravity rooms will blow your mind as you try to work out what is causing the illusion of you to be standing upside down, sideways. The best one was the room that made the girls look like giants in comparison to us!

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains -Tricklandia

There is also a huge colour changing mirror maze, which Lee and the girls thoroughly enjoyed, especially when I realised I couldn’t find my way out and started to panic!

We had so much fun in here but be sure to keep an eye on the time as you only get an hour and booking beforehand is essential.

Activities and hiking in Tatranská Lomnica – Tatra Mountains

Probably known most for its steep ski slopes in winter but also a fantastic base for hiking in summer.

Ride the cable car to Skalnaté pleso

Skalnaté pleso is a popular lake or tarn and tourist destination perfect for leisurely strolls around the lake or more challenging hikes to Veľká Svišťovka and Zelené pleso.

If you’re feeling energetic, you can reach Skalnaté pleso by hiking up to the 1751 altitude. Or you can ride a cable car from the lower station in Tatranská Lomnica to the mid-station, and then a second cable car to Skalnaté pleso.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - cable car to Skalnate pleso

I would recommend saving your energy and taking the cable car. The hike up is nothing special and there are much more interesting hikes to choose from with much more spectacular views once you reach Skalnaté pleso.

When we stepped out of the cable car, it instantly felt cooler. There is a great mountain playground for the kids to have fun whilst you sit down and enjoy the mountain scenery. There is also the Panorama Restaurant and chateau offering food and refreshment with incredible views.

Return tickets from Tatranská Lomnica to Skalnaté pleso cost €53 for all 4 of us.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - Skalnate pleso

Ride the cable car to Lomnické sedlo

Once you reach Skalnaté pleso, you can hike or take a third cable car up to Lomnické sedlo (saddle) at 2190 m for breathaking views.

We chose not to do this, opting to hike to Veľká Svišťovka instead. However, this is a good option if you want incredible views without walking too far.

Ride the suspended cable car to Mt. Lomnický štít (peak)

Ride the suspended cable car to the second highest peak in the Tatra Mountains – Mt. Lomnický štít.

To ride the suspended cable car to this peak at 2634 m, you will need to take the 2 cable cars up to Skalnaté pleso first. Then you can take the third suspended cable car to the peak of Mt. Lomnický štít.

This is the viewpoint that will give you the most incredible panoramic views of the whole Tatra Mountains and even peaks of the Alps in good weather.

Hiking to the second highest peak in the Tatra Mountains is a momentous achievement (and must only be done alongside a professional mountain guide). But it’s fantastic that you can also reach this incredible altitude of 2634 m easily by 3 cable cars, meaning that families with kids of all ages can go.

This is a very popular activity, so make sure you book your tickets as many days in advance as possible. Unfortunately, we tried to get tickets a day or two beforehand but they had sold out. Tickets are not cheap at €26 per adult and €19 for children from aged 6 years old, but I’ve heard it’s well worth the money.

To book tickets, click here

Hike to Veľká Svišťovka and Zelené pleso (Green Lake)

Whilst researching hiking routes and the most beautiful lakes/tarns in the Tatra Mountains, I came across the hike from Skalnaté pleso to Veľká Svišťovka (Mt. Svistovka) and Zelené pleso (Green Lake).

I’d seen photos of this incredibly beautiful green lake and felt this compelling need to go there. However, I knew this hike was long (6-8 hours), difficult and tricky and wasn’t sure if it was too advanced for the girls.

In the end, we decided to give it a go and at least try and make it to the top of Veľká Svišťovka. From there, we would make a decision whether to continue to Zelené pleso.

We started the trail up to Veľká Svišťovka, taking in the views back over Skalnaté pleso (lake). The trail has markings on rocks so is fairly easy to follow but the path is uphill and rocky.

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains -hiking to Velka Svistovka

After the first stint of uphill climbing, you reach a giant boulder field. Freya (aged 6) loved this part but Florence (our 3 year old) struggled and had to be tied onto our backs for a good proportion of the hike. We passed another family with a young child in a baby carrier, so knew it was definitely achievable.

At times, the path becomes narrow and tricky, coming quite close to the edge before opening up again.

There is one final climb up to the peak of Veľká Svišťovka and I promise you, the views are every bit worth it.

This is where we saw it, the green lake that is Zelené pleso at the bottom of the valley from our bird’s eye view.

Photos and videos really cannot do this stunning lake justice and I was so happy to have made it to this viewpoint. 

Hiking in the Tatra Mountains - Zelene pleso

We sat for a while just taking in the unreal views and discussing whether to attempt part 2 of the hike down to Zelené pleso.

I’d read that the second part of the hike was even more difficult, downhill and involves chains to help you down. We decided to turn back but certainly didn’t feel deflated after achieving the hike to Veľká Svišťovka and getting to see the magnificent Zelené pleso

The hike to from Skalnaté pleso to Veľká Svišťovka and back is approx 6.5 km and took us about 2.5 hours

More hiking routes in the Tatra Mountains

There are endless number of hiking routes in the Tatra Mountains ranging from short strolls, those suitable for strollers and pushchairs, to real challenging day hikes. For a map of the most popular detinations in the Tatra Mountains with hiking routes on, click here.

Things to do in Poprad

Visit Spišská Sobota

We spent half a day in Poprad, wandering around to see what it has to offer.

It is made up of 5 areas but we only found the historic city centre, around St. Egidius Square and Spišská Sobota worth a walk around. Spišská Sobota is a beautiful little area based around a charming square and houses that date back to the 13th and 14th century.

It was eerily quiet when we visited but had a lovely feel to it, almost like we had travelled back in time.

Poprad - Spisska Sobota

AquaCity aqua park

If you’ve had enough of hiking in the Tatra Mountains, then why not take the Tatra Electric Train to Poprad and spend a day at the aqua park.

There’s more than enough to keep the whole family entertained here. There are 13 thermal and relaxation pools, indoor and outdoor pools, wellness spa, fitness centre, water slides, fun zone and more!

For more information and prices visit AquaCity website here.

Our final thoughts…

We always love to explore on holiday but staying in the mountains on what some might describe as an ‘active holiday’ was a first for us. We’ve been to the mountains on skiing holidays but never in summer with the intent on hiking these magnificent peaks and valleys.

The Tatra Mountains is not just for hiking enthusiasts. Families with kids of all ages will fall in love with the sheer natural beauty that the High Tatras has to offer.

The hiking trails range from leisurely strolls suitable for strollers and buggies to advanced all day hikes.

The great thing is that many of the popular peaks and tourist destinations are completely accessible to all thanks to chair lifts, funicular and suspended cable car. Making use of these may not be the cheapest option but in some cases, it’s well worth it.

And there are plenty of other activities to do. It doesn’t have to be all about hiking in the Tatra Mountains.

I hope this post has given you the inspiration to visit the Tatra Mountains, Slovakia with your kids.

Please feel free to ask any questions.